As a licensed landscape architect and landscape contractor, and the president of Terra Ferma Landscapes, Brian Koch blends a passion for landscape design with business leadership to create unique designs to suit each client's needs. Personally overseeing every project, Koch ensures each site reflects creativity, cohesiveness, and overall completeness. With dedication to detail, he delivers an exceptional finished product that surpasses his client's desires. Find out more about the San Francisco-based designer in our Q&A below.
1. Who is your biggest role model?
Career-wise, my role model would be Tommy Church who revolutionized the way gardens are designed, especially here in the bay area. I aspire to execute like he did – understand your clients’ need to be outdoors and develop a design program that embraces and invites our clientele outside. For life matters, I can’t think of better role model than my parents. My father taught me to be thoughtful on every decision and focus on the “base hits," not homeruns. My mom always embraced my career path and encouraged me to be imaginative and creative.
2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?
This is an old school flick that I love called Logan’s Run. When a couple escapes a futuristic world built inside a dome and discovers the United States after hundreds of years without inhabitants – you see how quickly nature takes over and reestablishes its dominance on earth. I think they did a remarkable job at conveying that feeling and it would be amazing to take that imaginative leap! I think someone should re-make that film and give me a call!
3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?
I try not to pre-judge any client but instead get to know them through a series of inquiries. I always want to know more about my clients’ roots – how and where they grew up?, do they have memories of their childhood?, or do they have memories from a great trip or experience that has shaped their life? Eventually the questions lead towards what appeals to them most about their garden or property and how they see themselves using or experiencing it.
4. What new design trends are you excited to integrate into your work?
Trends and styles are always changing and evolving. We are in the thick of “transitional” appeal right now, and although we are digging it, I am exploring some classic garden styles and elements –secret garden spaces, espaliered fruit trees, and clean lines and layering. In addition, we are trying to tap into what makes our clients content. Our gardens and spaces are intended to evoke feelings of calmness, by being cozy and carrying genuine charm.
5. How do you completely unwind?
I head up to family property in Mendocino County. It’s so remote, there’s no cell service or electricity, and the water comes out of gravity fed natural springs. Once the Bud-light has been cracked, boots are up, and the sounds of total remote nature – that’s when I know I’m completely unwound!
6. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?
Probably a pilot. I fight with my kids for the window seat. I love gazing out at the landscape below and trying to figure out how it was shaped and how it all pieces together.
7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?
Probably promoting a ladie's shoe sale at Nordstrom's. I was 16 and dressed as a stadium vendor – yelling “get your ladies' shoes here!!!” All my high school friends saw me and it took years for them to forget about it!
8. What’s your favorite recipe?
It would have to be my slow cooked ribs. Source St. Louis Style ribs, peel the membrane, coat it in French’s mustard, then sprinkle Strawberry Hill Rub from Kansas City Missouri and slow cook for 7-8 hours at 225 degrees max! Spray cranberry juice every 30 minutes. Eat them right away – so good!!
9. Create your perfect playlist for us.
10. Would you rather shop new or vintage?
11. First celebrity crush?
12. What’s your hidden talent?
Playing corn hole!
13. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?
Corner Store – Corner of Geary and Masonic.
14. SF or LA?
Nor Cal for sure!